RR #1 Box 320 Clinton, Illinois 61727
I think it was in July of 1966 I wrote an article on separators (threshing machines), so I thought I would write an article on tractors I have threshed with.
To begin, I'll have to give you a little background on when I started. My dad had a 15x45x65 Case, 20 HP Reeves, one of the late ones with Canadian boiler and 24x75 Port Huron, the first tractor I threshed with which was a new G. & T. 30x60. In 1921 it replaced the 20 HP Reeves. I was 16 years old. I pulled the road grader for the township. Dad got $3.00 per hour for the tractor, driver and gas was included in the $3.00. At that time, it would run a day on $5.00 worth of gas and oil. The tractor cost $4000.00. That doesn't sound like much today but the township paid for the tractor.
The next tractor was a 1926 20x40 Huber, bought in December. Later it was a 32x45 it replaced. The last steam engine, which was the 24x75 Port Huron, was bought new in 1914 so it threshed for 12 years.
The reason we had so many tactors was, Dad was a jobber who sold tractors and separators for Huber. Then he sort of quit. In 1932, I signed a contract with Oliver as their dealer. So, at threshing time we threshed with what we had. In '29 I purchased my complete rig which was an 18x38. Later on I had a 21x39 and a 32x54 Huber Supreme separator.
The next year, I bought a 32x54 Minneapolis and pulled it with an old Crossmotor Huber Super four 18x36 with a Midwest Motor. I then sold the 21x39 Huber and replaced it with a 40x62 Huber. After I became an Oliver dealer, they made a special price on 28x50 Hart Parr's, so Dad and I each bought one new for $900.00 as they were coming out with 28x44 engines like the Huber line.
At that time it seemed like we had a different tractor every year as we were running five outfits in the 30's.
I threshed one year with a 17x30 B Minneapolis. What a disappointment! It never had the power it should of had. I think most of it was due to the lazy governor, but was a poor threshing tractor. One year I used a 22x36 International. It would of been a lot better tractor with a different governor.
Then I traded for a U AllisChalmers so I bought a 28x46 Case separator. This U had a Continental motor. Was that ever a nice small outfit!
The last year I threshed was 1942. I used an Oliver 70 and the Case 28. By that time it was all oat threshing. They were both on rubber.
My son, who was seven years old at that time, watched the tractor while I tended the separator. We threshed 900 acres of oats that fall. On the last job, a fellow from Wisconsin drove in with a truck. He asked, 'Would you sell that separator?' I said yes in about 2 hours. He walked around the separator, came back and asked, 'What will you take for it?' I said, '$300 for it and the drive belt.' He said, 'I'll take it. I'm going to get something to eat and when I get it loaded, I'm heading for Wisconsin.'
I could have threshed maybe two years more if I would have kept it. As much as I liked threshing, it was taking too much time away from my well drilling business.
I think I have lived through the 'heyday' of threshing, corn shelling, clover hulling and well drilling business. I quit the well drilling in '85 after my wife died. My son still drills some wells, on a limited scale, around home. I drilled over 1100 wells since my dad died in 1940. I really did like to drill water wells.
I think we were very fortunate with all those different tractors out threshing, not one of them failed to start and no mag trouble. We went over the tractors before starting threshing, checking mag compression, new plugs, fan belts. Those old tractors had a flat belt to drive the radiator fan. You had to keep them tight.
The tractors I liked best? I don't have much preference, I guess. When I look back, the 30x60 A. T., in its time, was far and above any other make at that time. The Hubers were all good tractors, if you took off Kingston governors and replaced them with Pickering, which the Huber Company did after the first tractors. The 28x50 Hart Parrs were real good threshing tractors, but none of these tractors could pull a 12 foot grader. The 30x60 A. T. could sure make a good ditch cut. I have seen the dirt coming over the top of the blade and it never slowed one bit!
I'm looking for a 22x45 A. T. They were the same as the bigger tractor only easier to handle, and at 83 years I can't handle them like I used to. I have a 40x62 Huber, L. A. Case, D Case and an S.
Hope I didn't wear you out reminiscing about old times but it was fun back then!